The online home of Mark “The Cork Head” Stuart, Certified Wine Professional, speaker/educator, judge, and columnist.

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December 2017
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Most Exciting Wine Find of the Summer

Solis Wine Bottle

2009 Solis Winery Fiano Estate

So I can’t say I was angry, but I will say I was disappointed. The wine was nothing short of superb, but my fellow panelists simply didn’t get it.

To set the stage, the “other” whites category at large wine competitions are, shall we say, is The Land of the Misfit Toys. If you’ve never tasted these sorts of wines, well, generally you aren’t missing much. Often times they are comprised of the end-lots of what didn’t make the cut of better quality wines, all mixed up, given a fancy name and sold over the counter at tasting rooms. A winery marketing director will pay a small fee to enter the obscure blend into the competition hoping it will get some recognition to help sell the inventory which would otherwise be flushed. Read More

What Makes Great Wine Great?

logo_state-fairAs a wine critic and judge I am often asked what makes great wine great.

First of all, the mere fact that someone enjoys a particular wine does not make it great. It means, and only means, that they like that particular wine. Let me explain with an analogy.

Money aside, one may appreciate the simple pleasure of a VW bus, but it is difficult to argue that a Bentley is not a superior vehicle. The same can be applied to a bottle of wine. Hordes of wine lovers flock to the accessibility of Charles Shaw, but given the opportunity they would jump at the chance to test drive a Chateau Margaux! Read More